1 Eagleton Notes

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Life Without Internet

The internet on the Island has gone berserk.

I've had big problems for a week or so but yesterday it disappeared.  I am not alone.  Far from it.  I went into The Woodlands (in Stornoway) this morning after having my fasting bloods done.  I wanted a bacon roll and a large black coffee!  And to use their wifi.  I managed to download my emails but then their wifi went down too.

Back home and I have wifi - just.  For how long I don't know so I thought that I'd post this so that you, dear reader, know why I am not posting and not visiting your blogs either as frequently as I would wish.

Add to that the fact that the weather here is as good as I can recall it in the last 40 years and I am  spending as much time in the garden as I can.  As I type this in my kitchen overlooking the bay with every window and door in the house open the temperature is just a whisker under 30ºC.  That's hot. 

Hopefully I'll be back again soon.

'Bye for now. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Solution - I Hope

Yesterday, and most of today, the weather was as perfect as it can get on Lewis.  The sun shone, the heat heated, the zephyrs gently caressed us and the midges, flies and clegs disappeared from whence they usually come.  All was well in the world - so far as the weather was concerned anyway.  So over the two days I've repaired paths, cleaned and repaired the UPVC porch and part of the study, cut hedges, weeded, and when I was sitting having a coffee break and indulging in some rare thinking I realised the solution to The Seagull Problem.  It occurred to me that the gulls dive into the pond and then need space to fly out of the pond itself.  So this should, I hope, be enough to thwart their efforts:



I will still have access to the pond and area around it and, hopefully, the goldfish will be safe.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

I Googled it.

The gulls are still making frequent overpasses to see if they can get at the meal they so desire.  Lazy creatures that they are: there's a whole bay full of sand eels a hundred metres away.  I decided that Jean (Jayview) had come up with the answer I would pursue.  Unfortunately when I looked at the practicalities of it for the moment it's on the back burner.  So tomorrow I will go and buy some net and make a frame to cover the surface.

When I Googled (should 'Googled' have a capital letter used thus?) I had an absolutely fascinating read.  I read that gulls don't eat fish.  I did, however, also come across a fascinating treatise by  Dr Adrian Lawler entitled Predatory Birds and Small Fish Ponds in which he concluded:
we are left with the following ways to try to protect our pond fish (methods that physically exclude the birds work best; killing or trapping methods are not listed because of protection laws):--stock out fish that are not easily visible in the pond (not brightly colored, or whitish, fish), --cut limbs that birds can dive from that overhang pond,--plant screens or other cover to prevent birds from getting (flying to, or walking to) to pond, --put fencing around pond to prevent larger herons from walking up to pond (also serves as deterrent for children), --make pond steep-sided and deeper than 18" at edges to keep wading birds out of pond, --put overhangs around edge of pond that prevent birds from getting to fishes that like to circle ponds at edges (overhangs should be high enough off water so they will not serve as fishing platform), --put a greenhouse around pond,--install bird netting (keep tight) to discourage diving or wade-fishing or bank fishing birds, --use decoys of competing large herons (to discourage other herons), --use various noisemakers (e.g., gas exploders, fireworks, or bird distress calls) (but not too effective unless noises made at irregular intervals, come from changing directions, etc.),--use fireworks for several evenings to disperse cormorants from their night roosts (can result in dispersed birds not going back to fishing at previous feeding sites),--use visual devices as foil and cloth strips, flags, balloons or objects with or without eyespots, irregular flashing lights, scarecrows, and artificial decoy hawks or owls, --use motion detector devices that spray water, or make noise, or turn on lights when activated,--avoid using logs and rocks, etc. around/in ponds that can be used as fishing perches,--get an aggressive dog trained to chase birds (this can be one of the best bird deterrents except when there are several ponds and the dog gets exhausted chasing the birds).
In the meantime the fish (not subtly camouflage coloured you will notice) keep swimming:



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Deterring Hunters

The goldfish are thriving.  The largest has grown from 3" to about 9" in the two years since I got them.  Until a few days ago when David was here I had never seen a seagull try to take one.  Then one evening a Black-backed Gull flew into the pond, attempted to get one (but got a beak full of pondweed instead) and flew off: all within a few seconds.  David was in the study and I was in the kitchen.  We both raced out.  We immediately erected a rough and ready defence-against-the-maurauding-gulls contraption.  It's still there and still deterring the enemy who makes constant forays to see if he can get at the fish.  So my next challenge is to see if I can find an acceptable deterrent which doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the pond and rockery but keeps the fish safe.  

I would perhaps understand a bit better and be more sympathetic to the seagull if there wasn't plentiful stocks of sand eels down in the bay a hundred metres away. 


Can I just add that the beautiful weather we've had the last few days has kept me from Blogland during the day and the fact that the internet has been down a lot and I've had visitors has kept me off in the evening and first thing in the morning.  It's a hard life.  My new bed has arrived though and is ready for occupation tonight so perhaps tomorrow......